In the United States, automakers began resuming operations in many factories last month after they closed in March to slow the spread of the coronavirus. To make up for lost time, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is abandoning its annual summer shutdown in some of its factories, according to a new report by Automotive news. However, some will still have a week or two off, and more, for retooling.
The six plants – two in Mexico and four in the United States – will continue to build some of the automaker’s best-selling vehicles such as the Dodge Charger and the Challenger, its Ram vans and even the Ram ProMaster. FCA also keeps much of the Jeep production chains running, with the company building the Jeep Grand Cherokee, Wrangler and Gladiator throughout the summer.
However, some FCA factories will cease their activities a little. The Belvidere, Illinois, plant that produces the Jeep Cherokee will experience a week-long shutdown. Production of the FCA minivans will also stop for two weeks in late July. These two factories experienced production shutdowns earlier this year due to lower sales of the models they produce. In Mexico, at the Toluca assembly plant, operations will take four weeks.
It’s been a huge turnaround from mid-March when the automakers started asking factory workers to stay at home while others worked from home. FCA production workers and other automakers have kept some factories in operation to help produce medical supplies for hospitals and front-line workers. FCA also borrowed money to overcome any uncertainty.
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Production at FCA’s other facilities – its stamping, powertrain and component plants – will support assembly plants in service during the summer and adjust their operations if necessary. With the opening of economies across the country and around the world, car sales are expected to rebound, which means dealers will need new cars to sell to impatient customers.